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DECREE BINDS THE LAND SECTION 31, PD1529 acquired their properties from an entirely different person, Amando

acquired their properties from an entirely different person, Amando Clemente and not from any of the
heirs of Policarpio de la Cruz, they could not be considered privies to any of them.
G.R. No. 76265 April 22, 1992 With the Court's ruling promulgated in 1984, petitioners cannot raise anew the question of ownership of
VIRGINIA CALALANG, petitioner, vs. REGISTER OF DEEDS OF QUEZON CITY, ADMINISTRATOR OF Lucia dela Cruz over Lot 671 which had been determined by the Court of Appeals and affirmed by the
NATIONAL LAND TITLES AND DEEDS REGISTRATION ADMINISTRATION, LUCIA DE LA CRUZ, CONSTANCIO Supreme Court in the dela Cruz case. Well-settled is the rule enunciated in Church Assistance Program,
SIMANGAN and IGLESIA NI KRISTO, respondents. Inc. v. Sibulo, 171 SCRA 408 [1989] that: When a right or fact has been judicially tried and determined by
a court of competent jurisdiction, so long as it remains unreversed, it should be conclusive upon the
G.R. No. 83280 April 22, 1992 parties and those in privity with them in law or estate.
FERNANDO L. VITUG I, FERNANDO M. VITUG II, FERNANDO M. VITUG III, FAUSTINO TOBIA, ELENA M. The Court's ruling has long been final and the issue on ownership of Lot 671 finally disposed of several
OSTREA and FELISA C. CRISTOBAL-GENEROSO, petitioners, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and years ago. This declaration must be respected and followed in the instant case applying the principle of
BISHOP ERAO MANALO, respondents. res judicata or, otherwise, the rule on conclusiveness of judgment. Inevitably, the dela Cruz ruling should
be applied to the present petitions since the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be
Facts: The subject of controversy in these two consolidated petitions is a parcel of land Lot 671-A the facts of the case before us now. Even the petitioners substantially adopt the same findings of facts in
located in Diliman. The petitioners are individual lot owners who claim to have bought their respective their pleadings. The factual inquiry with regards to the history of Lot 671 has already been laid to rest
portions from Amando Clemente in the 1950's. Clemente is alleged to be the registered owner of said and may no longer be disturbed.
land who converted it into a subdivision known as Clemville Subdivision.
Upon reviewing the facts of the dela Cruz case, there is no mention of Amando Clemente. A closer
Lot 671-A is actually part of a bigger parcel known as Lot 671 which is claimed by respondent Iglesia ni perusal of the records in G. R. 76265 would, however, reveal that TCT No. 16212 was issued for Lot 671-A
Kristo (INK), which bought said property from Lucia dela Cruz in 1975. Dela Cruz was adjudged the in the name of Amando Clemente on August 9, 1951. Amando Clemente's TCT No. 16212 emanated from
rightful owner of Lot 671 in the case of dela Cruz v. dela Cruz (130 SCRA 666 [1984]). This previous case of TCT No. 40355 in the name of Eugenia de la Paz and Dorotea dela Cruz. Thus, Amando Clemente's
case of dela Cruz v. dela Cruz was an action for reconveyance founded on breach of trust filed by predecessors-in-interest are Eugenia dela Paz and Dorotea dela Cruz whom the Court found to have lost
Augustina dela Cruz, et al. against Lucia dela Cruz and INK. In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the their rights over Lot 671 by virtue of the sale made to Lucia dela Cruz.
validity of the sale of Lucia to the INK and the title of INK to the subject realty (Lot 671) was validated as
well. This decision spawned the 2 consolidated cases at bar: It is undisputed that Lot 671 was sold to Lucia dela Cruz by Eugenia dela Paz and Dorotea dela Cruz as
evidenced by Entry No. 258, page 7, Vol. 7, Primary Entry Book of the Registry of Deeds of Manila. The
In G.R. No. 76265, Calalang alleged that she is the registered owner of a portion of Lot 671-A as sale of the land to Lucia dela Cruz and the subsequent registration thereof in the Primary Book of the
evidenced by TCT Nos. 17556, 17564 and 17562. She allegedly came to know of INK'S claim only when a Registry of Deeds, Manila constitutes constructive notice to the whole world. Since it is the act of
prospective buyer inspected the land on August 1986 and saw the "no trespassing" sign placed by INK. registration which transfers ownership of the land sold, Lot 671 was already owned by Lucia dela Cruz as
early as 1943. The fact that Amando Clemente possessed a certificate of title does not necessarily make
In G.R. No. 83280, the petitioners alleged that they and/or their predecessors in interest were issued him the true owner. And not being the owner, he cannot transmit any right to nor transfer any title or
their corresponding titles to the lots purchased from Amando Clemente in the 1950's. They alleged that interest over the land conveyed.
they took physical possession of their lots in Clemville Subdivision by actually occupying the same,
declaring them in their names for tax purposes, fencing or marking them off and entrusting their care to Moreover, the petition for reconstitution of title by Lucia dela Cruz which the court held to be valid was a
"katiwalas". From the time they acquired their Torrens Title they and they alone to the exclusion of INK proceeding in rem. It is well established that in rem proceedings such as land registration constitute
exercised all acts of undisturbed, peaceful and uninterrupted ownership and possession including the constructive notice to the whole world. The petitioners cannot now claim that they were not notified of
payment of their realty taxes. the reconstitution proceedings over said lot, hence, the title in the name of Lucia dela has become
indefeasible and incontrovertible. Likewise, the INK was also issued a Torrens Title over Lot 671 as a
In August 1985, INK started to enclose the entire Clemville Subdivision with sawali fences with billboards result of the sale made to it by the rightful owner, Lucia dela Cruz in 1975. Under the Torrens System of
randomly posted with NO TRESPASSING. INK also destroyed the concrete/hollow block fence surrounding registration, the Torrens Title became indefeasible and incontrovertible one year from its final decree. It
the lot of petitioner de Castro and started the construction of housing structures therein. At the same is, therefore, too late in the day for the petitioners to reopen or question the legality of INK's title over
time, it commenced the delivery of construction materials to the former premises of petitioner Panlilio to Lot 671 at this time.
erect permanent structures of strong materials on it. Petitioners filed for a petition for injunction with
damages. RTC granted it; the judge issued a restraining order and set the case for hearing the writ of To reopen or to question the legality of INK's title would defeat the purpose of our Torrens system which
preliminary injunction. Their prayer for injunction has been denied in both RTC and CA. seeks to insure stability by quieting titled lands and putting to a stop forever any question of the legality
of the registration in the certificate or questions which may arise therefrom.
Issue: Whether or not the ruling in the dela Cruz case should also apply to the petitioners.
In view of all the foregoing, it would be for the public interest and the maintenance of the integrity and
Ruling: Consolidated petitions were dismissed for lack of merit. stability of the Torrens system of land registration that all transfer certificates of title derived from the
reconstituted title of Eugenia dela Paz and Dorotea dela Cruz be annulled in order to prevent the
The petitioners argue that the dela Cruz case could not be applied to them since they were not parties in proliferation of derivative titles which are null and void. The legality or validity of INK's title over Lot 671
that case nor were they ever notified of such case pending between the parties. The petitioners has been settled.
explained that the de la Cruz case was a case among the heirs of Policarpio de la Cruz. Since they
DECREE BINDS THE LAND SECTION 31, PD1529 On January 10, 2008, RTC ruled in favor of the respondents. It declared respondents as owners of said lot
and payment of just compensation.
G.R. No. 192268 January 27, 2016
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, represented by its Regional Director, Petitioner, vs. Deped, through OSG, appealed the case before the CA. Deped insisted that respondents are barred by
DELFINA C. CASIBANG, ANGELINA C. CANAPI, ERLINDA C. BAJAN, LORNA G. GUMABAY, DIONISIA C. laches. However, CA affirmed the decision of RTC in toto.
Issue: Whether or not CA erred in affirming RTCs decision that the respondents right to recover the
Facts: The property in controversy is a 7,532 square meter portion of Lot 115 covered by OCT No. 0-627 possession of the land is not barred by prescription and/or laches.
registered under the name of Juan Cepeda, the respondents' late father.
Ruling: Petition has no merit.
Sometime in 1965, upon the request of the then Mayor Justo Cesar Caronan, Cepeda allowed the
construction and operation of a school on the western portion of his property. The school is now known Laches, in a general sense, is the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time,
as Solana North Central School, operating under the control and supervision of the petitioner DepEd. to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or
Despite Cepeda's death in 1983, the respondents and other descendants of Cepeda continued to tolerate omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to
the use and possession of the property by the school. assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes
laches or staleness of demand; each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances.
Sometime between October 31, 2000 and November 2, 2000, the respondents entered and occupied a
portion of the property. Upon discovery of the said occupation, the teachers of the school brought the Laches is evidentiary in nature, a fact that cannot be established by mere allegations in the pleadings.
matter to the attention of the barangay captain. The school officials demanded the respondents to vacate Citing Go Chi Gun, et al. v. Co Cho, et al, SC enumerated the elements of laches: (1) conduct on the part of
the property. However, the respondents refused and asserted Cepeda's ownership of the lot the defendant, or of one under whom he claims, giving rise to the situation of which complaint is made
for which the complaint seeks a remedy; (2) delay in asserting the complainant's rights, the complainant
On June 21, 2001, the DepEd filed a Complaint for Forcible Entry and Damages against respondents having had knowledge or notice, of the defendant's conduct and having been afforded an opportunity to
before the MCTC of Solana-Enrile. The MCTC ruled in favor of the petitioner and directed respondents to institute a suit; (3) lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complainant would
vacate the premises. On appeal, the R TC affirmed the decision of the MCTC. assert the right on which he bases his suit; and (4) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief
is accorded to the complainant, or the suit is not held to be barred.
Thereafter, respondents demanded the petitioner to either pay rent, purchase the area occupied, or
vacate the premises. DepEd did not heed the demand and refused to recognize the ownership of the DepEd averred that it owned the subject property because the land was purchased by the civic-minded
respondents over the property. residents of Solana. It further alleged that since it was the then Mayor who convinced Cepeda to allow
the school to occupy the property and use the same, it believed in good faith that the ownership of the
On March 16, 2004, the respondents filed an action for Recovery of Possession and/or Sum of Money property was already transferred to it. However, the DepEd did not present, in addition to the deed of
against the DepEd. Respondents averred that since their late father did not have any immediate need of sale, a duly-registered certificate of title in proving the alleged transfer or sale of the property. Aside from
the land in 1965, he consented to the building of the temporary structure and allowed the conduct of its allegation, the DepEd did not adduce any evidence to the transfer of ownership of the lot, or that
classes in the premises. They claimed that they have been deprived of the use and the enjoyment of the Cepeda received any consideration for the purported sale.
portion of the land occupied by the school, thus, they are entitled to just compensation and reasonable
rent for the use of property. Respondents, on the other hand, presented sufficient evidence to prove their claim. That being the case,
it is the burden of DepEd to prove otherwise. Unfortunately, the DepEd failed to present any evidence. As
In its Answer, DepEd alleged that it owned the subject property because it was purchased by civic- against the DepEd's unsubstantiated self-serving claim that it acquired the property by virtue of a sale,
minded residents of Solana, Cagayan from Cepeda. It further alleged that contrary to respondents' claim the Torrens title of respondents must prevail. As registered owners of the lots in question, the
that the occupation is by mere tolerance, the property has always been occupied and used adversely, respondents have a right to eject any person illegally occupying their property. This right is
peacefully, continuously and in the concept of owner for almost forty (40) years. It insisted that the imprescriptible. This right is never barred by laches.
respondents had lost whatever right they had over the property through laches (alleged that respondents
failed to assert their right for more than 30 years). Considering that the occupation of the subject lot is by mere tolerance or permission of the respondents,
the DepEd, without any contract between them, is bound by an implied promise that it will vacate the
During the trial, respondents presented the OCT No. O-627 registered in the name of Juan Cepeda; Tax same upon demand. Hence, until such demand to vacate was communicated by the respondents to the
Declarations also in his name and the tax receipts showing that they had been paying real property taxes DepEd, respondents are not required to do any act to recover the subject land, precisely because they
on the property since 1965. They also presented the Technical Description of the lot by the Department knew of the nature of the DepEd's possession which is by mere tolerance. Therefore, respondents are not
of Environment and Natural Resources Land Management Services showing that the subject property guilty of failure or neglect to assert a right within a reasonable time.
was surveyed in the name of Cepeda and a certification from the Municipal Trial Court of Solana, Cagayan
declaring that Lot 115 was the subject of Cad Case No. N-13 in LRC Cad. Record No. N-200 which was SC also ruled that JC in this case should be based on the prevailing market value. The reckoning period for
adjudicated to Cepeda. valuing the property in case the landowner exercised his rights in accordance with Article 448 (Deped
builder in good faith) shall be at the time the landowner elected his choice.
Despite notice and reset of hearing, Deped failed to present it evidence and substantiate its defense.
Issue: Whether or not petitioners have a better right to the possession or custody of the disputed
G.R. Nos. L-21703-04 August 31, 1966 owners' duplicates of certificates of title.
MATEO H. REYES and JUAN H. REYES, petitioners and appellants, vs. MATEO RAVAL REYES, respondent
and appellee. Ruling: The Court sees no valid and plausible reason to justify the withholding from the registered
owners, such as the petitioners-appellants herein, the custody and possession of the owners' duplicates
Facts: This case is a direct appeal from CFI Ilocos Norte on pure questions of law in its in its Cadastral of certificates of title.
Cases Nos. 31, L. R. C. Rec. No. 1188, and 42, L. R. C. Rec. No. 1994.
Citing an old jurisprudence (El Director de Terrenos contra Abacahin 72 Phil. 326), the Court has held that
Three brothers , Mateo H, Juan H, and Francisco H (all surnamed Reyes) are the registered owners of the owner of the land in whose favor and in whose name said land is registered and inscribed in the
several parcels of land covered by OCT Title No. 22161 (Lots Nos. 15891, 15896, 15902 and 15912, of certificate of title has a more preferential right to the possession of the owners' duplicate than one
Laoag Cadastre) and OCT Title No. 8066 (Lots Nos. 20481 and 20484, of the same cadastral cases). These whose name does not appear in the certificate and has yet to establish his right to the possession
titles, both issued in ROD Ilocos Norte, were issued pursuant to a decree of registration, dated 31 May thereto.
It being undisputed that respondent had already availed of an independent civil action to recover his
On 17 July 1962, petitioners Mateo H. Reyes and Juan H. Reyes filed a motion for issuance of writs of alleged co-owner's share in the disputed lots by filing a counterclaim for partition in said Civil Case No.
possession over all the lots covered by both Certificates of Title above referred to. 3659, his rights appear to be amply protected; and considering that he may also avail of, to better protect
his rights thereto, the provision on notice of lis pendens under Section 24, Rule 14, of the Revised Rules
Respondent Mateo Raval Reyes opposed the motion, admitting that he is only in possession of the lots of Court, for the purpose of recording the fact that the lots covered by the titles in question are litigated
covered by OCT No. 22161, but denying that he possesses the lots covered by OCT No. 8066; however, he in said Civil Case No. 3659, we again see no justifiable reason for respondent to retain the custody of the
claimed that he has been in, and is entitled to, the possession thereof (i.e., Lots Nos. 20481 and 20484), owners' duplicates of certificates of titles.
having acquired by way of absolute sale (not recorded) from petitioners' brother, Francisco H. Reyes, the
latter's undivided one-third (1/3) share, interest and participation to these disputed lots. Wherefore, respondent Mateo Raval Reyes was ordered to deliver to petitioners the owners' duplicates
of Original Certificates of Title No. 22161 and 8066.
On December 20, 1962, the court a quo issued, after due hearing, the writ of possession with respect to
Lot Nos. 15891 and 15896. On January 7, 1963, such writ was amended (upon petitioners MR) to include
all the other lots covered by both titles. Respondent did not appeal.

On January 15, 1963, petitioners commenced, on the same court, an ordinary civil action seeking to
recover the products of the disputed lots, or their value, and moral damages against respondent Mateo
Raval Reyes, as defendant. This case was docketed as its Civil Case No. 3659.

Mateo Raval Reyes answered the complaint and pleaded a counterclaim for partition of all the disputed
lots, alleging the same ground he had heretofore raised in his answer and/or opposition to the motion for
issuance of writ of possession alleging he is their (plaintiffs') co-owner.

Pending trial of Civil Case No. 3659, petitioners presented, on February 25, 1963, in the cadastral cases
aforementioned, a motion to compel respondent Mateo Raval Reyes to surrender and deliver to them
the owners' duplicates of Original Certificates of Title Nos. 22161 and 8066.

The court a quo denied petitioners' motion, on the ground that the parcels of land covered by both titles
are subjects of litigation in Civil Case No. 3659 and the same has not yet been decided on the merits by it.
The motion for consideration was likewise denied, hence, appeal was sought directly to SC.

Petitioners contend that since the subject matter of Civil Case No. 3659 are not the lots covered by the
titles in question but their products or value, and moral damages, these lots are not in litigation in this
ordinary civil case; and that since respondent had already raised the issue of ownership and possession
of these lots in his opposition to the petitioners' motion for issuance of writ of possession and without
any appeal being taken, respondent is barred and estopped from raising the same issue in the ordinary
civil case, under the principle of res judicata.
OWNERS DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE the first possessor in good faith; and (3) finally, the buyer who in good faith presents the oldest title.
There is no ambiguity in the application of this law with respect to lands registered under the Torrens
G.R. No. 154409 June 21, 2004 system.
Spouses NOEL and JULIE ABRIGO, petitioners, vs. ROMANA DE VERA, respondent.
This principle is in full accord with Section 51 of PD 152914 which provides that no deed, mortgage, lease
Facts: On May 27, 1993, Gloria Villafania sold a house and lot located at Banaoang, Mangaldan, or other voluntary instrument -- except a will -- purporting to convey or affect registered land shall take
Pangasinan (covered by a Tax Declaration) to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go. The said sale effect as a conveyance or bind the land until its registration. Thus, if the sale is not registered, it is binding
became a subject of a suit for annulment of documents between the vendor and the vendees. only between the seller and the buyer but it does not affect innocent third persons.

On December 7, 1993, the parties enetered into a Compromise Agreement (duly approved by RTC) that In the instant case, both Petitioners Abrigo and respondent registered the sale of the property. Since
Gloria Villafania was given one year from the date of the Compromise Agreement to buy back the house neither petitioner spouses nor their predecessors (Tigno-Salazar and Cave-Go) knew that the property
and lot, and failure to do so would mean that the previous sale in favor of Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and was covered by the Torrens system, they registered their respective sales under Act 3344. For her part,
Rosita Cave-Go shall remain valid and binding and the plaintiff shall voluntarily vacate the premises respondent registered the transaction under the Torrens system because, during the sale, Villafania had
without need of any demand. Later on, Gloria Villafania failed to buy back the house and lot, so the presented the transfer certificate of title (TCT) covering the property.
[vendees] declared the lot in their name.
Respondent De Vera contends that her registration under the Torrens system should prevail over that of
Unknown however to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go, Gloria Villafania obtained a free patent petitioners who recorded theirs under Act 3344. De Vera relies on the following insight of Justice Edgardo
over the parcel of land involved [on March 15, 1988 as evidenced by OCT No. P-30522]. The said free L. Paras:
patent was later on cancelled by TCT No. 212598 on April 11, 1996.
"x x x If the land is registered under the Land Registration Act (and has therefore a Torrens Title), and it is
On October 16, 1997, Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go, sold the house and lot to the sold but the subsequent sale is registered not under the Land Registration Act but under Act 3344, as
Petitioner-Spouses Noel and Julie Abrigo. amended, such sale is not considered REGISTERED, as the term is used under Art. 1544 x x x."

On October 23, 1997, Gloria Villafania sold the same house and lot to Romana de Vera. Romana de Vera We agree with respondent. It is undisputed that Villafania had been issued a free patent. The OCT was
registered the sale and as a consequence, TCT No. 22515 was issued in her name. later cancelled by TCT No. 212598, also in Villafanias name. As a consequence of the sale, TCT No.
212598 was subsequently cancelled and TCT No. 22515 thereafter issued to respondent De Vera.
On November 12, 1997, Romana de Vera filed an action for Forcible Entry and Damages petitioner
spouses before the MTC of Mangaldan, Pangasinan. On February 25, 1998, De Vera and Spouses Abrigo Soriano v. Heirs of Magali held that registration must be done in the proper registry in order to bind the
agreed that neither of them can physically take possession of the property in question until the instant land. Since the property in dispute in the present case was already registered under the Torrens system,
case is terminated. Hence the ejectment case was dismissed. petitioners registration of the sale under Act 3344 was not effective for purposes of Article 1544 of the
Civil Code. Petitioners cannot validly argue that they were fraudulently misled into believing that the
Thus, on November 21, 1997, Spouses Abrigo filed In RTC Dagugan for the annulment of documents, property was unregistered. A Torrens title, once registered, serves as a notice to the whole world. All
injunction, preliminary injunction, restraining order and damages against Gloria Villafania. After the trial persons must take notice, and no one can plead ignorance of the registration.
on the merits, the lower court rendered a decision awarding the properties to Spouses Abrigo as well as
damages. Moreover, Gloria Villafania was ordered to pay Spouses Abrigo and De Vera damages and Moreover, the Supreme Court highlighted that Article 1544 requires the second buyer to acquire the
attorneys fees. Spouses Abrigo and De Vera both appealed. immovable in good faith and to register it in good faith. Mere registration of title is not enough; good
faith must concur with the registration.
The CA dismissed the appeal of Petitioner-Spouses Abrigo and found no sufficient basis to award them
moral and exemplary damages and attorneys fees. Equally important, under Section 44 of PD 1529, every registered owner receiving a certificate of title
pursuant to a decree of registration, and every subsequent purchaser of registered land taking such
The appeal of De Vera was likewise dismissed. CA held that a void title could not give rise to a valid one certificate for value and in good faith shall hold the same free from all encumbrances, except those noted
hence, it dismissed the appeal of Romana de Vera. Since Gloria Villafania had already transferred and enumerated in the certificate. Following this principle, this Court has consistently held as regards
ownership to Rosenda Tigno-Salazar and Rosita Cave-Go, the subsequent sale to De Vera was deemed registered land that a purchaser in good faith acquires a good title as against all the transferees thereof
void. Upon MR of De Vera, CA amended its Decision finding Respondent De Vera to be a purchaser in whose rights are not recorded in the Registry of Deeds at the time of the sale.
good faith and for value. The appellate court ruled that she had relied in good faith on the Torrens title of
her vendor and must thus be protected. SC agreed with CA that respondent was an innocent purchaser for value. Its factual findings revealed that
respondent is in good faith: In CA decision, it explained that she testified clearly and positively, without
Issue: Whether or not Spouses Abrigo has a better to the property. any contrary evidence presented by the [petitioners], that she did not know anything about the earlier
sale and claim of the spouses Abrigo, until after she had bought the same, and only then when she
Ruling: Petition has no merit. bought the same, and only then when she brought an ejectment case with the MTC. To De Vera, the only
legal truth upon which she had to rely was that the land is registered in the name of Gloria Villafania, her
The present case involves what in legal contemplation was a double sale. Article 1544 of the Civil Code vendor, and that her title under the law, is absolute and indefeasible.
provides a double sale of immovables transfers ownership to (1) the first registrant in good faith; (2) then,
passed to the RTC upon appeal. [10] Later, the RTC remanded the case back to the MTCC, [11] which then
Republic vs. Mendoza
dismissed the case for insufficiency of evidence. [12] Consequently, the Mendozas once again appealed to
ABAD, J.: the RTC in Civil Case 2001-0236.

On June 27, 2006 the RTC found in favor of the Mendozas and ordered PPS to vacate the
This case is about the propriety of filing an ejectment suit against the Government for its property. It held that the Mendozas had the better right of possession since they were its registered
failure to acquire ownership of a privately owned property that it had long used as a school site and to owners. PPS, on the other hand, could not produce any document to prove the transfer of ownership of
pay just compensation for it. the land in its favor.[13] PPS moved for reconsideration, but the RTC denied it.
The Facts and the Case The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), appealed the RTC decision to
the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP 96604 on the grounds that: (1) the Mendozas were barred by
laches from recovering possession of the school lot; (2) sufficient evidence showed that the Mendozas
Paninsingin Primary School (PPS) is a public school operated by petitioner Republic of relinquished ownership of the subject lot to the City Government of Lipa City for use as school; and (3)
the Philippines (the Republic) through the Department of Education. PPS has been using 1,149 square Lot 4, Pcs-5019 has long been declared in the name of the City Government since 1957 for taxation
meters of land in Lipa City, Batangas since 1957 for its school. But the property, a portion of Lots 1923 purposes.[14]
and 1925, were registered in the name of respondents Primo and Maria Mendoza (the Mendozas) under
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) T-11410.[1] In a decision dated February 26, 2008, the CA affirmed the RTC decision. [15] Upholding the
Torrens system, it emphasized the indefeasibility of the Mendozas registered title and the imprescriptible
On March 27, 1962 the Mendozas caused Lots 1923 and 1925 to be consolidated and nature of their right to eject any person occupying the property. The CA held that, this being the case, the
subdivided into four lots, as follows: Republics possession of the property through PPS should be deemed merely a tolerated one that could
not ripen into ownership.
Lot 1 292 square meters in favor of Claudia Dimayuga
Lot 2 292 square meters in favor of the Mendozas The CA also rejected the Republics claim of ownership since it presented no documentary
Lot 3 543 square meters in favor of Gervacio Ronquillo; and evidence to prove the transfer of the property in favor of the government.Moreover, even assuming that
Lot 4 1,149 square meters in favor of the City Government of Lipa[2] the Mendozas relinquished their right to the property in 1957 in the governments favor, the latter never
took steps to have the title to the property issued in its name or have its right as owner annotated on
As a result of subdivision, the Register of Deeds partially cancelled TCT T-11410 and issued the Mendozas title. The CA held that, by its omissions, the Republic may be held in estoppel to claim that
new titles for Lots 1 and 3 in favor of Dimayuga and Ronquillo, respectively. Lot 2 remained in the name the Mendozaswere barred by laches from bringing its action.
of the Mendozas but no new title was issued in the name of the City Government of Lipa for Lot 4.
Meantime, PPS remained in possession of the property. With the denial of its motion for reconsideration, the Republic has taken recourse to this
Court via petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45.
The Republic claimed that, while no title was issued in the name of the City Government of
Lipa, the Mendozas had relinquished to it their right over the school lot as evidenced by the The Issue Presented
consolidation and subdivision plan. Further, the property had long been tax-declared in the name of the
City Government and PPS built significant, permanent improvements on the same. These improvements The issue in this case is whether or not the CA erred in holding that the Mendozas were
had also been tax-declared.[4] entitled to evict the Republic from the subject property that it had used for a public school.
The Mendozas claim, on the other hand, that although PPS sought permission from them to use the The Courts Ruling
property as a school site, they never relinquished their right to it. They allowed PPS to occupy the
property since they had no need for it at that time. Thus, it has remained registered in their name under A decree of registration is conclusive upon all persons, including the Government of the
the original title, TCT T-11410, which had only been partially cancelled. Republic and all its branches, whether or not mentioned by name in the application for registration or its
notice.[16] Indeed, title to the land, once registered, is imprescriptible. [17] No one may acquire it from the
On November 6, 1998 the Mendozas wrote PPS, demanding that it vacate the disputed registered owner by adverse, open, and notorious possession. [18] Thus, to a registered owner under
property.[5] When PPS declined to do so, on January 12, 1999 the Mendozas filed a complaint with the the Torrens system, the right to recover possession of the registered property is equally imprescriptible
Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) of Lipa City in Civil Case 0002-99 against PPS for unlawful detainer since possession is a mere consequence of ownership.
with application for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction.[6]
Here, the existence and genuineness of the Mendozas title over the property has not been
On July 13, 1999 the MTCC rendered a decision, dismissing the complaint on ground of the disputed. While the consolidation and subdivision plan of Lots 1923 and 1925 shows that a 1,149 square
Republics immunity from suit.[7] The Mendozas appealed to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) meter lot had been designated to the City Government, the Republic itself admits that no new title was
of Lipa City which ruled that the Republics consent was not necessary since the action before the MTCC issued to it or to any of its subdivisions for the portion that PPS had been occupying since 1957.[19]
was not against it.[8]
In light of the RTCs decision, the Mendozas filed with the MTCC a motion to render judgment That the City Government of Lipa tax-declared the property and its improvements in its name
in the case before it.[9] The MTCC denied the motion, however, saying that jurisdiction over the case had cannot defeat the Mendozas title. This Court has allowed tax declarations to stand as proof of ownership
only in the absence of a certificate of title. [20] Otherwise, they have little evidentiary weight as proof of Marcosa Rivera filed a counter-petition substantially denying the alleged marriage of the decedent to Sia
ownership.[21] Khin as well as the alleged filiation of the persons named in the petition, asserting that the properties
described are her paraphernal properties and praying that her nephew, Arminio Rivera, be appointed
The CA erred, however, in ordering the eviction of PPS from the property that it had held as
administrator of the intestate estate of the deceased.
government school site for more than 50 years. The evidence on record shows that
the Mendozas intended to cede the property to the City Government of Lipa permanently. In fact, they
allowed the city to declare the property in its name for tax purposes.And when they sought in 1962 to The Court granted Marcosa Riveras petition and Arminio assumed as administrator of the estate. He
have the bigger lot subdivided into four, the Mendozas earmarked Lot 4, containing 1,149 square meters, submitted an inventory of the alleged estate of Rafael Litam and said inventory did not include the
for the City Government of Lipa.Under the circumstances, it may be assumed that the Mendozas agreed properties mentioned in the petition of Gregorio Dy Tam in April 1952. Gregorio, on November 1952,
to transfer ownership of the land to the government, whether to the City Government of Lipa or to the filed a motion for the removal of Arminio Rivera as administrator of the aforementioned estate.
Republic, way back but never got around to do so and the Republic itself altogether forgot about Meanwhile, Remedios Espiritu was appointed as guardian of Marcosa who was declared incompetent.
it. Consequently, the Republic should be deemed entitled to possession pending the Mendozas formal Gregorio Dy Tam filed Civil Case No. 2071 of the same court against Espirity and Arminio Rivera. He
transfer of ownership to it upon payment of just compensation.
reproduced substatially the allegations made in his petition in April 1952 stating that the properties in
The Court holds that, where the owner agrees voluntarily to the taking of his property by the
government for public use, he thereby waives his right to the institution of a formal expropriation dispute are conjugal and are more than those specified in the inventory.
proceeding covering such property. Further, as the Court also held in Eusebio v. Luis,[22] the failure for a
long time of the owner to question the lack of expropriation proceedings covering a property that the The trial court dismissed CivilCase No. 2071. Hence the appeal.
government had taken constitutes a waiver of his right to gain back possession. The Mendozas remedy is
an action for the payment of just compensation, not ejectment. Issue:

In Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals,[23] the Court affirmed the RTCs power to Are appellants the legitimate children of Rafael Litam?
award just compensation even in the absence of a proper expropriation proceeding. It held that the RTC
can determine just compensation based on the evidence presented before it in an ordinary civil action for Is Marcosa Rivera the exclusive owner of the properties in question or do the same constitute a common
recovery of possession of property or its value and damages. As to the time when just compensation
property of her and the decedent?
should be fixed, it is settled that where property was taken without the benefit of expropriation
proceedings and its owner filed an action for recovery of possession before the commencement of
expropriation proceedings, it is the value of the property at the time of taking that is controlling. [24] Ruling:

Since the MTCC did not have jurisdiction either to evict the Republic from the land it had SC said the appellants failed to prove their alleged status as children of Rafael Litam by marriage with Sia
taken for public use or to hear and adjudicate the Mendozas right to just compensation for it, the CA Khin. It appears from the evidence presented by the defendants that there was no such marriage
should have ordered the complaint for unlawful detainer dismissed without prejudice to their filing a between Rafael Litam and Sia Khin and that the plaintiffs named are not children of the deceased. The
proper action for recovery of such compensation. various official and public documents executed by Rafael Litam himself convincingly show that he had not
contracted any marriage with any person other than Marcosa Rivera, and that he had no child. In the
WHEREFORE, the Court partially GRANTS the petition, REVERSES the February 26, 2008
decision and the October 20, 2008 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. 96604, and ORDERS the marraige certificate, it was clearly stated that he was single when he married Marcosa Rivera. In the
dismissal of respondents Primo and Maria Mendozas action for eviction before the Municipal Trial Court sworn application for alien certificate or registration, Rafael Litam unequivocably declared under oath
in Cities of Lipa City in Civil Case 0002-99 without prejudice to their filing an action for payment of just that he had no child.
compensation against the Republic of the Philippines or, when appropriate, against the City of Lipa.
Petitioner did not present in evidence the marriage certificate of Rafael Litam and Sia Khin, which in the
opinion of the Court is the competent and vest evidence of the alleged marriage between them. No
Henry Litam vs. Espiritu explanation has been given for the non-presentation of said marriage certificate, nor has there been any
showing of its loss.
It is therefore the finding of this Court that the Plaintiffs named in Civil Case No. 2071 are not heirs of the
This is an appeal from the decision of the CFI of RIzal. On April 24, 1952, Gregorio Dy Tam filed a petition said decedent, his only heir being his surviving wife.
stating that the petitioner is the son of Rafael Litam and the deceased was survived by 8 children by a
marriage celebrated in China in 1911 with Sia Khin, that after the death of Rafael Litam, petitioner and his Appellants maintain that Rafael Litam was guilty of the crime of Bigamy, that he had willfully and
co-heirs came to know that the decedent had contracted in the Philippines another marriage with maliciously falsified public and official documents and that although appellants and Sia Khin were living in
Marcosa Rivera, that the decedent left as his property among others 1/2 share in the purported conjugal Manila and Marcosa Rivera, the decedent had succeeded for 30 years in keeping each party in complete
properties between him and Marcosa Rivera and that the decedent left neither will nor debt. Petitioner ignorance of the nature of his alleged relations with the other. The Court said the same cannot be
prayed that after appropriate proceedings, letters of administration be issued to Marcosa Rivera. sustained unless the evidence in support thereof is of the strongest possible kind, not only because it
entails the commission by Rafael Lita of grave criminal offenses which are derogatory to his honor, but Calalang-Parulan vs. Calalang-Garcia
also beecause death has sealed his lips, thus depriving him of the most effective means of defense. The
proof for the appellants herein does not satisfy the requirement. GR. No. 184148

It has been established by the evidence that the properties in question were bought by Marcosa Rivera
with her separate and exclusive money. Great importance should be given to the documentary evidence.
Topic: Succession, Successional rights
Rafael declared under oath that the money paid by Marcosa Rivera for the properties were her exclusive
and separate money. It was also acknowledge by Rafael that he had not given any money to his wife, and Principle:
that they have actually adopted a system of separation of property, each of them not having any interest
or participation whatsoever in the property of the other. These declarations and admission of the fact It is hornbook doctrine that successional rights are vested only at the time of death. Article 777 of the
made by Rafael Litam against his interest are binding upon him, his heirs and successors in interests and New Civil Code provides that "[t]he rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the
third persons as well. death of the decedent." In Butte v. Manuel Uy and Sons, Inc., we proclaimed the fundamental tenets of
The properties having been bought by Marcosa with her separate and exclusive money is further
The principle of transmission as of the time of the predecessor's death is basic in our Civil Code, and is
strengthened by the fact that, as it is clearly disclosed by the evidence when Marcosa was married to supported by other related articles. Thus, the capacity of the heir is determined as of the time the
Rafael in 1922, she was already rich. It also appears that she was born of a rich family. On the other hand, decedent died (Art. 1034); the legitime is to be computed as of the same moment (Art. 908), and so is
it appears from the evidence that when Rafael married Marcosa, he was poor. the in officiousness of the donation inter vivas (Art. 771). Similarly, the legacies of credit and remission
are valid only in the amount due and outstanding at the death of the testator (Art. 935), and the fruits
Another circumstance which clearly proves that the properties in question belong exclusively to Marcosa accruing after that instant are deemed to pertain to the legatee (Art. 948).
is the established fact that before she became incompetent, she has been administering said properties
to the exclusion of Rafael. In fact, she alone leased the properties in question and the corresponding
lease contract was signed by her as lessor. Furthermore, the properties in question have been declared in
In a Complaint for Annulment of Sale and Reconveyance of Property, the respondents Rosario Calalang -
the name or Marcosa Rivera alone, and she alone pays the real estate taxes due thereon. Garcia, Leonora CalalangSabile, and Carlito S. Calalang asserted their ownership over a certain parcel of
land against the petitioners Nora B. CalalangParulan and Elvira B. Calalang. The said lot was allegedly
Further strong proofs that the properties in question are the paraphernal properties of Marcosa Rivea , acquired by the respondents from their mother Encarnacion Silverio, through succession as the latters
are the very Torrens Title covering said properties. All the said properties are registered in the name of compulsory heirs.
Marcosa Rivera, married to Rafael Litam. This circumstance indicates that the properties in question
belong to the registered owner, Marcosa Rivera, as her paraphernal properties, for if they were conjugal, According to the respondents, their father, Pedro Calalang contracted two marriages during his lifetime.
The first marriage was with their mother Encarnacion Silverio. During the subsistence of this marriage,
the titles covering the same should have been issued in the names of Rafael Litam and Marcosa Rivera.
their parents acquired the abovementioned parcel of land from their maternal grandmother Francisca
The words married to Rafael Litam written after the name of Marcosa Rivera, in each of the titles are Silverio. Despite enjoying continuous possession of the land, however, their parents failed to register the
merely descriptive of the civil status of Marcosa Rivera, the registered owner of the properties covered same. On June 7, 1942, the first marriage was dissolved with the death of Encarnacion Silverio.
by the said titles.
On November 6, 1967, Pedro Calalang entered into a second marriage with Elvira B. Calalang who then
The disputable presumption of law that the properties acquired during the marriage are conjugal gave birth to Nora B. CalalangParulan and Rolando Calalang. According to the respondents, it was only
properties, upon which legal presumption said Plaintiffs and Petitioner mainly rely has been decisively during this time that Pedro Calalang filed an application for free patent over the parcel of land with the
overcome by the overwhelming preponderance of evidence adduced in these cases that the properties in Bureau of Lands.
question are the paraphernal properties of Marcosa Rivera.
On February 17, 1984, Pedro Calalang sold the said parcel of land to Nora B. Calalang Parulan. Transfer
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 283321 was issued in the name of Nora B. Calalang Parulan. On December
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is affirmed. 27, 1989,7 Pedro Calalang died.

The respondents assailed the validity of TCT No. 283321 arguing that the sale of the land was void
because Pedro Calalang failed to obtain the consent of the respondents who were co owners of the


Whether or not the respondents were deprived of their respective shares by reason of the sale.

No. It is hornbook doctrine that successional rights are vested only at the time of death. Article 777 of
the New Civil Code provides that "[t]he rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the
death of the decedent." In Butte v. Manuel Uy and Sons, Inc., we proclaimed the fundamental tenets of

The principle of transmission as of the time of the predecessor's death is basic in our Civil Code, and is
supported by other related articles. Thus, the capacity of the heir is determined as of the time the
decedent died (Art. 1034); the legitime is to be computed as of the same moment (Art. 908), and so is
the in officiousness of the donation inter vivas (Art. 771). Similarly, the legacies of credit and remission
are valid only in the amount due and outstanding at the death of the testator (Art. 935), and the fruits
accruing after that instant are deemed to pertain to the legatee (Art. 948).

Thus, it is only upon the death of Pedro Calalang on December 27, 1989 that his heirs acquired their
respective inheritances, entitling them to their pro indiviso shares to his whole estate. At the time of the
sale of the disputed property, the rights to the succession were not yet bestowed upon the heirs of Pedro
Calalang. And absent clear and convincing evidence that the sale was fraudulent or not duly supported by
valuable consideration (in effect an in officious donation inter vivas), the respondents have no right to
question the sale of the disputed property on the ground that their father deprived them of their
respective shares. Well to remember, fraud must be established by clear and convincing evidence. Mere
preponderance of evidence is not even adequate to prove fraud.20 The Complaint for Annulment of Sale
and Reconveyance of Property must therefore be dismissed.